National Post

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Friday, May 21, 1999

The majority opinion

Karina Roman
National Post

"The definition [of 'spouse'] clearly indicates that the legislation decided to extend the obligation to provide spousal support beyond married persons . . . The obligation was extended to include those relationships which: Exist between a man and a woman; Have a specific degree of permanence; Are conjugal . . . Same-sex relationships are capable of meeting the last two requirements. Certainly same-sex couples will often form long, lasting, loving, and intimate relationships. The choices they make in the context of those relationships may give rise to the financial dependence of one partner on the other . . . Although there is evidence to suggest that same-sex relationships are not typically characterized by the same economic and other inequalities which affect opposite-sex relationships, this does not explain why the right to apply for support is limited to heterosexuals . . . Discrimination exists because of the exclusion of persons from the regime on the basis of an arbitrary distinction, sexual orientation . . . It would be consistent with Charter values of equality and inclusion to treat all members in a family relationship equally and all types of family relationships equally . . . this appeal does not challenge traditional conceptions of marriage, as Section 29 of the Act expressly applies to unmarried opposite-sex couples."

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